Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

WSJ. Magazine: A Fungus Among Us

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Oregon is home to four of the seven wild culinary truffle species native to North America, which at some point acquired a reputation as a second-rate talent compared to the prized European varieties. For the April issue of WSJ. Magazine, I went into the Oregon woods with a bilingual truffle-hunting dog named Tom, and wrote about the effort to rehabilitate the stature of American truffles.

WSJ.Truffles

Psychedelic Guinea Pig

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

brainscanTwo years ago this month, I volunteered to be a test subject in an Imperial College of London research study exploring the brain effects of psilocybin. I was dosed intravenously with the drug, and then monitored, as I sat tripping under an MEG scanner, at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre in Wales. That study is now out, in the Journal of Neuroscience. Essentially, the researchers discovered that psilocybin’s effect is to disrupt the normal, regularly timed firing of neurons in the brain’s posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). This is usually a very ordered and organized activity, but under the drug, becomes disorderedly and chaotic; neurons fire willy-nilly. It would seem that our very notion of a self hinges on the timing of neurons: mess with their routine, the ego dissolves, and, suddenly, all appears one in the universe….brainscan430681_10151393856535455_1882897225_n

Men’s Fitness: “Silicon Valley’s New Social Network”

Monday, January 6th, 2014

In the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Men’s Fitness, I wrote a feature about the commingling of endurance sports and business networking  in Silicon Valley, and the Bay Area’s particular breed of hyperfit tech entrepreneurs.

MF.SVspread

SKI Magazine: Russia’s Gamble on Sochi

Monday, January 6th, 2014

In the Jan 2014 issue of SKI Magazine, I have a feature about the new ski resorts near Sochi, Russia: the fun backstory of how the resorts got developed, and how they might fare once the Olympic Games is over.

SKI.Sochispread

NY Times: A Test Run at Russia’s Olympic Hopeful

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

In this weekend’s (Dec. 22) New York Times Travel section, I wrote (and shot) the cover story about a ski trip to Russia, to the new resorts built near Sochi, the site of the coming Winter Games.

nyt.sochispread

I also paid tribute to my grandfather Irv Isaacson, who lived in Denver, built the first ski lodge at Winter Park, Colo., was a great lover and champion of the sport, and created ski art and souvenirs.

Until then, skiers mainly collected patches and pins of ski areas like Aspen and Stowe. Irv was one of the first to take these souvenirs further, turning out high-quality mugs, shot glasses, brandy snifters, champagne flutes, ashtrays and beer mugs bearing resort names and logos – the sort of branded keepsakes that are ubiquitous today. The posters he designed were satirical, poking fun at the sport’s elitism and cultural stereotypes:

SKI SIBERIASKI VLADIVOSTOCKSKI POLANDSKI VALE

 

Disability Right Fund: report

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Last year, I traveled to Bangladesh (Dhaka, Chittagong Hill Tracts) Peru (Lima, Amazon), Fiji, Kenya and Indonesia on behalf of the Disability Rights Fund, an organization that supports Disabled Persons Organizations in the developing world that advocate for the human rights of persons with disabilities.

It was a tremendous experience, and the result — with my writing and photography — is this report produced by the creative folks at Free Range Studios.

You can view it here. Here are some additional photos from my reporting:

The New Republic: Coming Soon to Your Bedroom: Beef-Tendon Condoms

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Bill Gates is paying big for better contraception. For The New Republic, I wrote about what scientists have come up with.

WSJ. Magazine: The Croatian Engineer That’s Revolutionizing Electric Cars

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Last summer, I visited Croatia for the Wall Street Journal Magazine to profile 25-year-old prodigy Mate Rimac, who has built the fastest electric car in the world. Now his innovative designs are being licensed by manufacturers building the next generation of supercars. Read about it in the November 2013 issue of WSJ. Also shot this cover portrait:

The New Yorker: The Mysterious Buyer of Buford, Pop. 1

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

A piece online at The New Yorker: Last year, an unusual Wyoming real-estate deal made international headlines: the tiny town of Buford, population one, had been purchased by an anonymous Vietnamese businessman. What did the buyer want with an exit off the interstate containing little more than a trading post and a pair of gas pumps? It was unclear; the businessman flew back to Vietnam without saying, and, until Tuesday, there had been little news from Buford….

Popular Science: The Robotic Search For Lost World War II Airmen

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

I wrote and photographed a feature in the Sept 2013 issue of Popular Science. World War II combat pilots have been lost at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean for nearly 70 years. Last March, in Palau, I joined a group of engineers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and amateur marine archeologists from the Bent Prop Project, as they deployed autonomous robots to find them.

The New Yorker: Dining on Mars

Friday, June 28th, 2013

On The New Yorker’s Elements blog, I have a piece about a NASA experiment on the flanks of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, to test different cooking methods for Mars habitation.

ISLANDS Magazine: Tristan da Cunha photo essay

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
In the June issue of ISLANDS Magazine, a photo essay I shot in Tristan da Cunha, the “world’s most remote inhabited island,” a very distant, awesome little place in the South Atlantic that takes a week to reach, by ship, from Cape Town. Home to 250 hardy souls, who descend from hardier souls: British and Dutch seamen, American whalers, Italians castaways, who ended up there and stuck around. The entire island is a volcano, which rises to 6,700 feet and appears to float across the ocean like a lonely iceberg.

Hemispheres: Fossil hunting in Peru

Monday, April 8th, 2013

I shot and wrote the feature in this month’s issue of United’s in-flight magazine, Hemispheres, about a controversial character in the Peruvian desert who is trying to defend the world’s largest trove of marine fossils from commercial scavengers.

Sierra: “Corporate Climbers”

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Spent the day with the climbers who clean wind turbines, for this text/photo feature in the March/April 2013 issue of Sierra.

Dwell: “Queen of the Hill”

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

In the March 2013 Interior Design issue of Dwell magazine, I profiled San Francisco modern architect Abigail Turin.

NYT: The “digital detox” movement

Friday, December 21st, 2012

250 young Bay Area professionals walk into a bar, surrender their phones, and try to hang on….

In the NYT Sunday Styles section.

Daily Beast: Aung San Suu Kyi Meets Her Peers

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

I covered an intimate and very interesting event in San Francisco on Friday — the Freedom Forum — which brought together Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and various inspiring activists from around the world. Here at The Daily Beast.

NY Times Science: Gateway to Myanmar’s Past, and Its Future

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Wrote a short piece, with pictures, in today’s Science Times, about a magnificent Buddhist capital, Bagan, in Myanmar, and how the country’s recent political changes is/will affect cultural heritage and archaeology.

NPR: “Talk of the Nation”

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Was invited to talk RVs and about my recent NY Times Travel cover story with host Neal Conan on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation”. Listen here.

NY Times Travel: RV Road Trip

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Your way into my cover story in this weekend’s Travel section might be RVs, road trips, The Greatest RV Rally in the World, doggie swimsuit competition, retired people, redwoods, hot springs, or Paul Bunyan. Any which way, there’s something for everyone.

The Atlantic: Can a Better Vibrator Inspire an Age of Great American Sex?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

This lengthy piece was a labor of love, a two-year process from assignment (originally for The New York Times Magazine) to its birth (at The Atlantic). For various reasons, it turns out that it’s hard to get a story published in mainstream American media that goes deep into sex, design, engineering, medical history, and pop culture. I’m delighted it found a great home.

Some outtakes from recent stories

Monday, April 30th, 2012

New Yorker: The Story Behind “Caine’s Arcade”

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Last December, while in Kenya on a photo project about the global disability rights movement, I met Nirvan Mullick, a filmmaker and digital media producer from Los Angeles. We were both attending this gathering of African disabled youth leaders. Over lunch one day, he mentioned a project he was involved with back home about a 9-year-old kid who made an arcade from cardboard in his dad’s used auto parts store. Fast forward five months: “Caine’s Arcade” hit the web, and went viral.

I caught up with Mullick and Caine in San Francisco last weekend and filed this story.

NY Times Travel: Pisco in Lima

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Pisco is a spirit made from a single distillation of young wine. It has been made in the dry coastal valleys of southern Peru since at least the early 17th century. It is enjoying a renaissance in Peru. Read on (or look at the pictures)….

NY Times Science: James Cameron’s Dive

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

This week, the film director and explorer James Cameron became the first human to travel on his own to the world’s deepest abyss, the Challenger Deep. He’s not the only one to have that dream; but he’s the first to make it there alone. In this post at the NY Times, I write about the guy that almost beat him to it.

Wired News: Summit Series

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

My piece for Wired News on Summit Series, an impressive conference described by one venture capitalist in attendance as “a young TED meets Burning Man.”

“On a recent weekend, Barack Obama’s chief technology strategist, a prominent conservationist, and a supernatural mentalist — a professional mind reader — walked into a California ski lodge…”

NY Times Arts: Why Men Always Tell You to See Movies

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Ever wondered why you almost never hear women doing the voiceovers for movie trailers? Not sure why I did, but I found some interesting research behind how audiences react differently to men’s and women’s voices. From last Sunday’s Arts & Leisure section:

“What gender is the voice of God? The question has been pondered by mystics through the ages, but in the sanctuary of cinema the voice of a sonorous, authoritative, fear-inspiring yet sometimes relatable presence is, invariably, that of a man. Consider the trailer and the omniscient, disembodied voice that introduces moviegoers to a fictional world….”

NY Times Sports: Egypt’s Squash Players

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I’ve got a piece in today’s Sports section on Egyptian dominance in the sport of squash.

“In Egypt we don’t obey rules as the English, or Germans, or in the States,” said Ramy Ashour, the former world champion. “This helps us in squash.”

NY Times Science: Borneo’s Orangutans

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

I was in Borneo last month to see the magnificent and adorable orangutans, and shot this photo essay about our close relatives.

Here’s the accompanying piece: ”All life is precious, but the demise of the orangutan hits especially close to home….”

Skiing Magazine: Ruby Mountain Heli-Skiing

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Nevada’s high northeastern desert, there are 200,000 skiable acres and several summits that top 11,000 feet, and a small heliski operation that has wielded a monopoly on dumps in this remote range for 34 years

Here’s my piece in the December issue of Skiing Magazine.